Steroids in MMA
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Tag: Sean Sherk

‘Ben vs. Ben’: The UFC 84 Argument, Pt.1

BF(BF)
BG(BG)

Fowlkes and I spend a lot of time pondering and writing about MMA. Often, we disagree. With that in mind, we’d like to present the first installment of a new feature where we argue about the topics of the day — in this case, all the major themes coming out of Saturday’s UFC 84. This one’s actually a two-parter; come back tomorrow for spirited debate on Wanderlei Silva’s future, the necessity of ring girls, and the intensity of BJ Penn and Sean Sherk’s personal relationship.

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QUESTION: What will be the best fight of UFC 84?

Goldstein: The best fight of a given event generally starts with a large dose of drama and ends with a decisive finish. Penn/Sherk has drama out its ass — these guys hate each other — and Ortiz/Machida has it too, as it’s Ortiz’s last fight, and one that Dana White desperately wants him to lose. But I wouldn’t bank on Ortiz/Machida to be a particularly exciting match. Both fighters are questionable finishers (five of Machida’s last seven matches have gone to a decision, compared to four of Ortiz’s last seven) and before his punking of Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Machida was widely thought to be a boring fighter. The UFC set this match up to make Ortiz look less marketable, and it isn’t likely to be a barn-burner.

As for Penn and Sherk — how can this be anything less than legendary? Penn tends to make any fight exciting, and both guys will be looking to finish. Penn has to exploit his striking advantage and avoid being laid on by Sherk; a dull fight is not in Penn’s best interest, strategically speaking. I think Sherk is too tough to get stopped earlier than the third round, and if the fight goes into the championship rounds, his conditioning advantage will kick in. So Penn has this sweet spot of the third round where he’s most likely to win, and as the minutes and rounds tick by, anticipation will amp up the drama even further. If BJ wins, he’ll be the UFC’s undisputed lightweight ruler, and his reaction could be just as memorable as the fight itself.

Fowlkes: While I agree with your preconditions for what makes a great fight, I don’t necessarily think it will be Penn-Sherk that turns in the best performance of the night. Seems to me that you’re forgetting about Wanderlei Silva/Keith Jardine. That has plenty of drama — Silva needs a win badly and Jardine needs something to force the UFC to stop overlooking him — and it features two guys who like to stand and bang, which always yields great potential for a decisive finish.

On top of that, when’s the last time you saw Wanderlei in a boring fight? Tell me. I demand to know. I think Sherk-Penn will be worth the pay-per-view price alone, but Silva-Jardine is going to produce some fireworks either way, my friend.

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UFC 84: ‘Ill Will’ — BG’s Official Picks

Keith Jardine UFC
(Listen, buddy: win first, skanks later.)

As promised yesterday — here are the final picks I’m making for my ipecac bet with Ryan of Fightlinker. Will they be enough for me to avoid vomity humiliation? Well, Ryan has mentioned that he’s predicting Wanderlei Silva and Tito Ortiz will win their bouts, and I don’t see the rest of his choices being any less duhtarded. We’ll be scoring this on the three-point system: one point for calling the winning fighter, and additional points for correctly calling the method of victory (one point) and round (one point). How fun! My picks are below; feel free to debate them in the comments section. — Ben G.

MAIN CARD
B.J. Penn def. Sean Sherk via submission, 3rd round : I went over this in my UFC 84 gambling guide. Fowlkes made some good points yesterday, but I still think Sherk is going out like Joe Stevenson, with a bloody face and an arm around his neck. Just because Sherk’s two losses didn’t come via submission doesn’t mean that he’s unsubmittable, especially against someone as talented as Penn.

Keith Jardine def. Wanderlei Silva via decision: I also went over this in the gambling guide. (By the way, if you want to see a short video version of me making those exact same points, check out this clip from CombatWire.com.) Jardine was able to outsmart Chuck Liddell when they fought, and Wanderlei Silva is basically a dumber version of Chuck. I think the most logical pick is another decision win for Jardine.

Wilson Gouveia def. Goran Reljic via KO/TKO, 2nd round: I don’t like to pick against guys with undefeated records, but that rule shouldn’t apply when a fighter has less than eight pro fights, and Reljic (7-0) has beaten absolutely nobody you’ve ever heard of. I wouldn’t assume that Gouveia’s ground skills are necessarily better than Reljic’s, but I can see him catching the Croatian with a heavy shot, Lambert-style. Also, betting against the American Top Team is generally a bad move.

Lyoto Machida def. Tito Ortiz via decision: Machida isn’t a fight-finisher, and unless he’s in the cage with Ken Shamrock, Tito really isn’t either. But Machida is far more well-rounded, and his tendency to take his opponents out of their rhythm is well-documented. I’m very confident that Machida will win, and he could easily do it via TKO or submission, but given the recent fight histories of these two, a decision feels likely.

Thiago Silva def. Antonio Mendes via KO/TKO, 2nd round: Undefeated record + UFC experience + ATT = a total lock. Eight of Thiago Silva’s 12 wins have come via first-round stoppage; ten come via KO/TKO. The only advantage that Brazilian UFC newcomer Antonio Mendes has is that he’s 3-0 against guys named Silva. He is a hard-ass, though, and I don’t foresee a steamrolling. I say Mendes gets through round one, shaken but not quite out.

As for the undercard…

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Gambling Addiction Enabler: UFC 84 Edition

Wanderlei Silva UFC 84
(“Gimme $2,000 on Jardine.”)

This has already been getting some play on the forums, but for those weak bastards who haven’t joined yet, betting odds for UFC 84′s three marquee match-ups have been released. Shall we take a look?

BJ Penn (favorite) vs. Sean Sherk (underdog)
Our buds at BetUS have Penn as a -230 favorite (you’d have to bet $230 to win $100 back) with Sherk riding the +180 underdog line (a $100 bet would score you $180). Setting aside BJ’s current hype as one of the most talented fighters in the world, he really does hold an advantage over Sherk in every aspect other than conditioning; his standup is better, his submissions are much better, and he’s not going to let Sherk lie on top of him the entire fight. But Sherk’s undeniable talent and accomplishments are preventing oddsmakers from calling this any wider than it already is. If you want to make a high-percentage wager on the Prodigy, do so at BetUS. If you’re going for the longshot, throw down a bill on Sherk at PinnacleSports, where they’re giving the Muscle Shark a juicy +232 line.

Lyoto Machida (favorite) vs. Tito Ortiz (underdog)
BetUS says -220 for Machida and +175 for Ortiz, a slightly closer line than Penn/Sherk, owing partly to the fact that Machida still doesn’t have a win against a top-10 light heavyweight under his belt — not that Ortiz is top 10 anymore, but he could easily be Machida’s toughest challenge to date. Will the Dragon still stomp Ortiz? Yeah, pretty much. Ortiz may be a better wrestler, but that’s about it. Lyoto seems to come from the Anderson Silva school of well-rounded badasses with very few holes in their game, and he’s probably a lot more focused than the stretched-in-all-directions Ortiz, who can hopefully schedule some workouts between reality show appearances, t-shirt company management, sex with Jenna Jameson, and bitching about Dana White whenever there’s a microphone in the room. Pinnacle has Machida at a far more attractive -185, while Ortiz nut-huggers can squeeze a tiny bit more value out of their misguided bet at BetCris, where he’s +180.

Wanderlei Silva (favorite) vs. Keith Jardine (underdog)
Here, folks, is the only smart underdog bet of the lot. BetUs has Wandy as a -185 favorite with Jardine the ‘dog at +145. Look, we know the Axe Murderer was a killer in PRIDE — but he needs to win a couple in the Octagon to convince me that he’s just as fearsome over here. Take away the use of soccer kicks and knees to the head on the ground, biased refs and judges, matchmaking that had him go up against opponents that were tailor-made for his style, (*cough*steroids*cough*), and the confidence that comes from never losing, and we’re not even talking about the same guy anymore. Silva won’t be doing any axe-murdering at UFC 84 — he’s going to be fighting not to lose, and will come out a much more cautious, tentative version of himself. Meanwhile, Jardine is surely working on another great game-plan with Greg Jackson, knowing that if he pulls off another big win his title shot will be waiting. Great risk, great reward, etc. Pinnacle and Sportsbook have Jardine at a solid +150. I don’t think there’s enough value in a bet on Wanderlei, but if you disagree, Pinnacle and Bodog have him at a more reasonable -160.

(BG)

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I’m Just Sayin’…

Sean Sherk before his completely unjust steroid suspension:
Sean Sherk steroids 1

Sean Sherk now:
Sean Sherk steroids UFC

Maybe it’s a bad angle, but is the Muscle Shark looking…I don’t know…narrower to you?

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Quote Stew: Bisping, Quarry, Hunt + More

JI
(James Irvin: Fighting his way off of the C-list.)

“He’s lost his last two fights now, against Franklin and Anderson Silva, so the UFC’s decision makes sense. No fighter can guarantee winning a fight but you can go into a bout in shape. If you can’t go the distance then you’re not preparing well enough and you’re not taking your job seriously. We work for the UFC and it’s our job to get off our a**es and train and be in shape. That’s what we get paid for and if we don’t do that then we’re not doing our job. That’s the way I look at it.”
Michael Bisping on the recent sacking of Travis Lutter.

“I just decided to make light of the situation and be like, hey man, this is what I’m seeing. I’m seeing a running man. That just came to me out of nowhere. When there were ten seconds left I just said to myself, all right, I’m calling the technique the ‘rock-hammer.’ I don’t know if that name will stick or not.”
Nate Quarry on the instant-classic ending of his fight with Kalib Starnes.

“I’m just so happy that he would even take the fight against me. I consider him an ‘A’ level fighter, and I consider myself a ‘C’ level fighter, maybe a ‘B’ level because I just beat Houston trying to claw my way up to the top. So for him to take a step down and fight me, I’m greatly appreciative of the guy, who is someone I look up to as one of those top tier fighters.”
James Irvin on his UFC 85 opponent, Rashad Evans.

“Mentally I think BJ has some quit in him. I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it in the past. If you push him, he’ll quit.”
Sean Sherk on his UFC 84 grudge match with BJ Penn.

“Now that the K1 thing is out of the way it’s all good baby: all MMA and MMA only. These guys (DREAM) want me to fight Aleksander (Emelianeko) in about three weeks time on May 11th! I was like no way because it’s too short a time with no training. I don’t want to risk fighting like that. But if they compensate me enough for taking that risk then it’s all good and I’ll fight. DREAM’s plan was to see how Fedor (Emelianeko) goes and when and if he wins the DREAM title, and then I will fight him…First time I fought him, my wrestling wasn’t great — actually it was pretty shit but I did alright with him. This time I will be ready.”
Mark Hunt, who may eventually be battling the Emelianenko brothers in DREAM. Hunt was submitted by Fedor via armbar at PRIDE Shockwave on New Year’s Eve 2006.

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“…and licking the blood off his face while I’m punching him…”

BJ Penn, God bless him, has not given up on the blood-licking thing — and he vows to do it again when he fights Sean Sherk. Check out the pre-fight hype in these new UFC 84 promo videos, which run down the matchups between Penn and Sherk, as well as Silva vs. Jardine and Oritz vs. Machida.

(Dana White: “BJ Penn is a fucking *fighter*.”)

(Dana White on Wanderlei Silva: “This guy, loves, to fucking, *fight*.”)

(Dana White on Tito Ortiz: “I think he has the will and desire to be successful. He doesn’t have the will and desire to be the best fighter in the world.”)

(Props: BloodyElbow)

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The NSAC Trusts Sean Sherk as Far as They Can Throw Him

SS

They may have reduced his steroid suspension from one year to six months because of the reasonable doubt he raised during his appeals, but in the eyes of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Sean Sherk is still a filthy steroid cheat whose urine, if ingested, would immediately cause testicle shrinkage in men and testicle growth in women. So to be extra sure that there aren’t any shenanigans come fight night, the NSAC voted yesterday that Sean Sherk would be required to undergo additional drug testing prior to UFC 84 (May 24th, Las Vegas). Sherk has agreed to submit the extra wee-wee during the week of April 21st, because apparently next week isn’t convenient for him, clean-piss-wise. Anyway, it’s surely just an insulting formality. Even if Sherk cycled in the past — and since nobody was ever able to refute his “chain of custody fuckup” argument, we’re not passing judgment on the guy — there’s no way he’d have the balls to juice up in preparation for his first fight after a suspension.

According to a report on MMAPredictions:

Sherk has already submitted all the necessary medical and administrative paperwork for his license to be approved. A commission member asked Sherk, “Mr. Sherk, do you understand that the NCAC will hold you responsible for anything that comes up positive in your test, irrespective of your knowingly taking a certain steroid?”

“Yes I understand that I am responsible for anything that goes into my body,” Sherk answered.

Unfortunately, they judge you on what comes out. Don’t worry man, you’ll get the hang of this…

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Franca: The UFC Forced Me to Take Steroids

HF

Well, basically.

On a recent airing of the Tagg Radio Network’s Lights Out Show, Hermes Franca discussed that little steroid misunderstanding he had last summer at UFC 73, where both him and his opponent Sean Sherk were busted for ‘roids after their lightweight title fight; Franca has subsequently been banned from competing in California until July 5th. Unlike Sean Sherk, who absolutely did not take steroids, Franca was apologetic about the situation and chalked it up to a “mistake,” but he did try to pin some of the blame on the pressure-cooker of being a UFC fighter:

When I was hurt, I got lost. I wanted to fight for the belt and make my dreams come true. But [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva told me that I had to fight Sean Sherk at UFC 73 and there was no other way around it without him finding another opponent. A lot of guys in the division wouldn’t be able to fight, like Kenny Florian. I brought up Roger Huerta but Joe said that he wasn’t ready. So I took the steroids.

If you’re unfamiliar, Franca’s pre-fight injury situation is described here. To him, it was a choice between taking steroids and not being able to support his family; like many mixed martial artists, he lives fight-to-fight, financially speaking. And now with a one-year suspension preventing further income, Franca was recently forced to resign from the UFC so he could make money fighting overseas. To make things worse, the CSAC warned Franca that he would have to serve his one-year suspension if he ever planned on fighting in the U.S. again, so he’s basically like a wandering ghost at this point, fighting to survive and unable to return home. The irony is, if he went through the Sherk fight without chemical enhancement, even if he took an ugly loss, he would have probably picked up a win by disqualification — or at least a no-contest and another title shot — because Sherk also pissed dirty.

Anyway, there’s your daily insight into the ugly side of MMA. We’re going to go cry in our car for a while.

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Rich Franklin, ‘Shogun’ Rua Could Return to UFC in April; Sherk Also Rumored

RF
(Rich Franklin, not overcompensating.)

The Fight Network reports that Rich Franklin is looking to make his Octagon return at the UFC’s April 19th event in Montreal. His opponent will be TUF4 middleweight winner Travis Lutter; it was first rumored that Franklin would face Lutter at UFC 82, but recent knee surgery forced Franklin to postpone the match. Both men are coming off of losses to Anderson Silva.

Echoing a previous claim, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has revealed to GracieMag.com that he will also be fighting in Montreal, against a yet-unnamed opponent. The Chute Boxe defector has decided to stay in Curitiba, Brazil, and form a new gym with ex-teammate Andre Dida called Universidade da Luta (Fight University).

If these big-name fights and the probable welterweight unification match between Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra all hold up, the UFC’s Montreal event would be incredibly stacked; throw in a rumor about Sean Sherk fighting the winner of Penn/Stevenson at the event, and you’re looking at an all-time classic. We hope that the card does brisk business for the UFC — but as we learned yesterday, when Rich Franklin is on the marquee, nothing is guaranteed

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Penn/Stevenson UFC 80 Match to Be for LW Title

BJP

Forget all this “interim” bullshit — according to an article posted yesterday night on UFC.com, BJ Penn and Joe Stevenson will fight for the true, undisputed lightweight championship at UFC 80: Rapid Fire on January 19th. Before the Ultimate Fighter 6 finale on Saturday, UFC officials confirmed that Sean Sherk had been stripped of the lightweight title after his suspension for steroid use was upheld (sort of) by the California State Athletic Commission. Says Dana White: “I have nothing but respect for Sean Sherk and I believe he’s been honest throughout this whole process. But BJ Penn and Joe Stevenson will be fighting for the lightweight title at UFC 80 on January 19th and Sean Sherk will fight the winner for the title.”

Penn’s fight against Stevenson will be his third attempt at securing the UFC’s lightweight belt, and fifth title fight overall; he was briefly the UFC’s welterweight champion after defeating Matt Hughes at UFC 46 (1/31/04). UFC 80 represents the first title shot for Stevenson, who has been fighting professionally since he was 16. Though initial reports suggested that “Rapid Fire” — which is being held in Newcastle, England — might be presented to American audiences as a taped prime-time special on CBS, Fightlinker.com is now floating a rumor that the first UFC/CBS collabo will actually be UFC 81. So if you plan on watching the Penn/Stevenson bout next month, be prepared to roll out of bed at the ungodly hour of 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET and start your Saturday with a steaming bowl of bloodshed.

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